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Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

A Comparison of Fresh and Frozen Lamb Meat-Differences in Technological Meat Quality and Sensory Attributes

Stenberg, Elin; Arvidsson-Segerkvist, Katarina; Karlsson, Anders H.; Olafsdottir, Aoalheiour; Hilmarsson, Oli Por; Gudjonsdottir, Maria; Thorkelsson, Guojon


Simple Summary Freezing is used to extend the storage time of meat and is common practice in lamb meat production, since it maintains a steady supply of seasonal meat throughout the year and allows shipping over long distances. Fresh meat may also be purchased and frozen at home, to enable longer storage of the product before consumption. Freezing is the best preservation method, apart from chilling of fresh meat. However, differences in quality parameters between fresh and frozen meat may influence consumer choice and preferences. It is thus important to evaluate these differences, and how they are affected by conditions and animal handling during primary production, slaughter method and storage conditions before retail sale. This study examined the effect of freezing on technological meat quality and sensory attributes in lamb meat samples collected at two different slaughterhouses using different slaughter methods. Several differences between fresh and frozen-thawed meat were detected in terms of technological meat quality and sensory attributes, including colour, Warner-Bratzler shear force, cooking loss, flavour attributes and juicy texture. Technological meat quality and sensory attributes of fresh and frozen lamb meat were compared. Samples were collected from two abattoirs (one small-scale, one large-scale) that use different slaughter methods in terms of chilling regime and electrical stimulation. The fresh and frozen meat samples included products from both slaughter systems. Ten twin pairs of ram lambs were used in the study, with one of each twin slaughtered at each abattoir. Fresh meat was analysed after chilling and frozen meat was stored frozen for three months and analysed after thawing. The Musculus longissimus thoracis et lumborum was analysed for colour, cooking loss, sensory attributes, Warner-Bratzler shear force (WBSF) and distribution of water and lipid within each meat sample. Meat samples analysed after frozen storage were darker, less red and more yellow than the fresh meat. Freezing and frozen storage increased fluid loss and WBSF compared with the fresh meat, due to protein denaturation. Frozen storage affected sensory attributes by increasing fatty odour, frying flavour, sour flavour, fatty flavour and liver flavour, and by reducing juicy texture and mushy texture.


meat colour; cooking loss; Warner-Bratzler shear force; tenderness; odour; texture; flavour; LF-NMR; water and lipid distribution

Published in

2022, Volume: 12, number: 20, article number: 2830
Publisher: MDPI